The US MotoGP marked the first time that two Moto2 champions had finished on the premier-class podium.

Reigning Moto2 title holder Marc Marquez took victory at Laguna Seca ahead of 2011 champion Stefan Bradl, who followed up his first premier-class pole with his first MotoGP podium.

The 600cc four-stroke Moto2 class, where all riders use the same specification of Honda engine, replaced the two-stroke 250cc category for the start of 2010.

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This year's performances by Marquez and Bradl are a far cry from the miserable MotoGP season endured by inaugural Moto2 champion Toni Elias. The Spaniard managed just 15th overall for LCR Honda on his return to MotoGP and was replaced by Bradl for the start of last season.

Bradl finished eighth in his rookie MotoGP campaign, with a best finish of fourth. He then suffered a shaky start to this year before claiming top six finishes in the last five rounds, culminating in his first podium.

"For me it was more difficult to learn MotoGP than Marc, but I think you cannot find talent like Marc every five minutes," said the German. "I think [Moto2] is the way to go. 250 was a great class, but Moto2 is also a fantastic championship.

"You can see so many battles and the riders can make the difference. So I think it is a good school for MotoGP. Some riders have shown they can also compete quite good in the MotoGP class. We will see what will happen in the future. Moto2 is just three years old. But this is the way to go."

Repsol Honda star Marquez, who also won the 125cc title in 2010, is enjoying a dream rookie season in MotoGP, claiming three wins and leading the world championship by 16 points.

"I never rode a 250 so I cannot say if Moto2 is better or worse, but I think [Moto2] is a good category because you ride with four-stroke engines, so when you come to MotoGP it is a little bit easier," said the Spaniard. "For example, when I made the step from 125 to Moto2 that was when I struggled a little bit more with the engine braking of the four-stroke.

"When you jump to MotoGP you need to understand how to ride this bike and all the electronic side. But the weight, the four-stroke engine and those kinds of things are quite similar to Moto2. So for me [Moto2] is a little bit better [than 250]."

As well as Marquez and Bradl, current MotoGP riders Bradley Smith, Andrea Iannone, Aleix Espargaro, Karel Abraham, Claudio Corti and Yonny Hernandez all spent at least one season in Moto2.

Scott Redding currently leads this year's Moto2 standings from Pol Espargaro. Both are expected to move to MotoGP next season.